Thursday, January 31, 2013

If In Doubt, Innovate

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Proud to see my university (and some programs I'm involved with) featured in The Economist this week!  We're at the forefront of innovation in the Nordic countries.

Ironically, as a perfect example of why we're getting a lot of press:
In 3 days I'll be flying out to Barcelona for a week, where about 10 other Aalto students and I will be working with with students at ESADE during a four-month internationally collaborative Innovation in Action course.  There are incredible opportunities for passionate, motivated, and innovative students in this part of the world!

Read the full article here   



 .... Hasta la vista!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

"Return of the Sun"

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This week Finland has been aglow with the return of that beautiful orange orb that apparently still exists, though I almost began to fear it had permanently burned out during these past few months.

Greenland is also seeing the return of the sun. Earlier and earlier each year as of late, it seems.  Enjoy these four minutes of magic ...


Return of the Sun from Glen Milner on Vimeo.

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Shape of Freedom in Our Network Society

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How we make information, how we get it, how we speak to others, and how others speak to us are core components of the shape of freedom in any society.

Individuals can reach and inform or edify millions around the world. Such a reach was simply unavailable to diversely motivated individuals before, unless they funneled their efforts through either market organizations or philanthropically or state-funded efforts. The fact that every such effort is available to anyone connected to the network, from anywhere, has led to the emergence of coordinate efforts, where the aggregate effect of individual action, even when it is not self-consciously cooperative, produces the coordinate effect of a new and rich information environment. (p.4)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Business English?

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What's the most surprising thing I learned during my first semester of graduate school?  My grasp of the English language isn't nearly as refined as I had hoped.

Here are a list of terms which I've had to look up while reading through the course material for my lectures. Many of these I've seen before, and even had a vague idea of their meaning, but they were often used in new - and sometimes bizarre - contexts.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Turning Point

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I was at a local private school today and at one point, while sitting in the headmaster's office, commented to him: "This has been lovely.  If I'm in Finland when I get married and have kids, perhaps I'll consider sending them here."

His response: "Oh....you're not married?" - with disbelief in his voice and genuine surprise in his eyes.

Am I already here? At the age where people expect that I'm married?

Mom and Dad haven't started asking for grandkids yet.
My grandparents haven't started asking for great-grandkids yet.
I think it's just the headmaster's wishful thinking; hoping I'll add a few more kiddos to his roster...

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Theories of Human Nature & Management

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"As there is a degree of depravity in mankind which requires a certain degree of circumspection and distrust, so there are other qualities in human nature which justify a certain portion of esteem and confidence." 
- James Madison, Federalist Paper No. 55


With these words Mr. Madison was way ahead of his time.
I've lately been enchanted with Sumantra Ghoshal's 2005 paper "Bad Management Theories are Destroying Good Management Practices."  It is most intriguing not as a management manifesto, but rather as a philosophical treatise on the evolution of predominant theories of human nature in recent generations.

Ghoshal takes us through step by step: From Milton Friedman's (1962) identification of the "negative problem" (i.e. social science has focused too much on enabling good people to do good; it has neglected to address that man is imperfect and can be harmful and opportunistic) to Martin Seligman's (2003) introduction of "positive psychology" (i.e. we should focus as much on strengths and ability to do good as we do on our weaknesses and vices), we see a tipping of Madison's balanced view from one extreme to another.  

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Entrepreneurs in the Media

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In the research study I worked on from 2010-2012, we found - as did other researchers before us - that the way entrepreneurs are portrayed in the media helps to shape our perception of how desirable it would be for us to start a business.  Newspapers and television stories about local business owners give us an idea of how others will see us once our new ventures label us 'entrepreneur'.

My preconceived notion was that places where entrepreneurs are despised in the media are mostly developing countries that struggle with corruption or regions with a history of a strong state-run economy. I assumed that in countries where free enterprise had generated a thriving economy and considerable wealth for the majority of the population, the media would be pro-entrepreneurial. I certainly didn't think that Finland would be a place I'd run into local news stories that are heavily skeptical and critical of entrepreneurs.

That's why this article surprised me.
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